History of Church of South India
The Church of South India is the result of the union of churches of varying traditions Anglican, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed. It was inaugurated in September 1947, after protracted negotiation among the churches concerned. Organized into 22 dioceses, each under the spiritual supervision of a bishop, the church as a whole is governed by a synod, which elects a moderator (presiding bishop) every 2 years. Episcopacy is thus combined with Synodical government, and the church explicitly recognizes that Episcopal, Presbyterian, and congregational elements are all necessary for the church's life. The Scriptures are the ultimate standard of faith and practice. The historic creeds are accepted as interpreting the biblical faith, and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper are recognized as of binding obligation.
On 27th September 1947, the General council of Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, General Assembly of South India United Church and South India Provincial Synod of Methodist Church joined together to from the CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA as the largest united national church in India. The continued growth has been further enriched with the joining of the churches of Basel Mission and the Anglican Diocese of Nandyal. A unique church was born out of the blending of the Episcopal and non - Episcopal traditions as a gift of God to the people of India and as a visible sign of the ecclesiastical unity for the universal church.
Vision of CSI
The Church of South India (CSI) affirms that the purpose of the union is to fulfill the priestly prayer of Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church "That they all may be one, and that the world may believe that you have sent me". And the Church of South India would become an effective instrument of God's mission so there will be greater peace, closer fellowship and fuller life in the Church and a renewed commitment for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through word and deed.
The intertwining of the lotus with the cross along with fiery tongues of the Holy Spirit is an authentic Indian expression of people's communion with God.
Commitment of the Church
Being the largest Protestant church in India, she celebrates her life with Indian culture and spirituality and she also raises here voice for the voiceless on matters of justice, peace and integrity of creation. Sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the people of India through proclamation of the good news of Jesus; responding to human need through institutional and emergency relief work; through community development projects and skill training programs for the marginalized and disadvantaged sections of the people and programs for the integrity of creation. Translating this vision and commitment, the Synod of the Church of South India as the apex body of the church endeavors to encourage, equip and empower her dioceses, congregations and institutions through varied ministries:
Ecumenical Relations and Membership in World Bodies
The Church of South India from her inception has been as active member of the national and international ecumenical Organisations such as the National Council of Churches in India (NCC), the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), the World of Council of Churches (WCC), the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), the Council for World Mission in Southwest Germany (EMS), the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). Her Ecumenical relations also extend to Uniting Church in Australia, the Church in Scotland, the Uniting Protestant Churches in the Netherlands, Common Global Ministries Board, Reformed Churches in America, Presbyterian Church in US, Episcopal Church in America and Presbyterian Church in Republic of Korea.
The Journey Continues
The CSI is a united and uniting church moving forward with a dynamic vision for The Communion of Churches in India. The joint council of churches of South India, The Church of North India and the Marthoma Church are already members of this commune of Churches and are venturing into wider ecumenical relations to witness to One Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church of South India continues her journey expressing solidarity with the broken communities, affirming her faith in the Wounded Lord whose resurrection bestows a new hope to face the challenges of growing religious fundamentalism, violence, exploitation and discrimination based on caste and gender. The Cross of Christ continues to be the sign of hope for the church which strives toward Peace and Reconciliation as a vibrant channel of God.